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UK and France Set the Example in Afghanistan Withdrawal

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The United States leadership has said that the U.S. Army, the most powerful war machine in the world, does not have the capabilities to help its own citizens to reach Kabul’s International Airport safely, leaving 10,000 Americans to travel through the dangerous streets of Taliban Kabul alone, while Taliban fighters control and harm Americans in the streets. While American troops are prohibited to leave the airport, British and French troops have gone out of their way to rescue their civilians and guarantee them safe passage to Kabul’s Airport.

According to reports of the Daily Telegraph, the British Army has a garrison of 900 soldiers, including 600 paratroopers that were sent as the situation quickly deteriorated last week, and these soldiers have made missions to extract many of the civilians trapped inside of Kabul in the middle of the night in order to get them to the airport safely, missions that have been successful thus far. According to the latest numbers provided by the British government, the UK has managed to evacuate up to 1,000 civilians last Thursday and government officials expect

The French army has made similar operations inside of Kabul, with President Emmanuel Macron congratulating the French army for conducting a “sensitive operation” which evacuated more than 200 afghans and french civilians out of Afghanistan. An operation that French radio station RTL confirmed was made by RAID, an elite french army unit.

It now appears that the German armed forces will follow the footsteps of the British and the French, with the Bundeswehr announcing they will send two H-145 helicopters to aid with the extraction of civilians from Kabul to the airport itself.

Will Biden authorize similar missions to Kabul?

The British army has less than 159,000 active personnel and spent over $54 billion in defense in 2020, France has 270,000 active personnel and spent $47 billion in their military in 2020. The United States has 1,387,621 military personnel around the world and spent up to $778 billion in their armed forces. In other words, if the British and French armies joined, they would not be even a third of the size of the American military.

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It is then not surprising why many Americans have started asking the Pentagon why have the U.S. military not started to do similar missions to ensure the safe passage of American civilians and Afghan allies towards the Kabul airport.

Kabul-retreat
Up to 6,000 Americans have been deployed to guard the airport, but many Americans have been left stranded behind Taliban lines (EFE)

When pressed about the issue, President Biden said that while he has not ruled out deploying similar operations (contradicting their previous statement that they didn’t have that capacity) to rescue the Americans stranded in Kabul, he said that they have not done those kinds of operations or extended the perimeter because it could draw “an awful lot of unintended consequences” to people who are “not inf act, the Taliban” and that “to the best of his knowledge” the Taliban were “letting people through with American passports”.

Of course, even Biden’s Secretary of Defense contradicted that assertion in a phone call with congressional leaders from both parties, saying that the Taliban had beaten Americans on their way to the airport.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), a war veteran, has said that the reports he is receiving indicate that the situation in Kabul is unsustainable and that if the President does not allow military extractions of the civilians stranded in the city, then there would be more Americans “left to the Taliban” than the total amount of casualties in the global war on terror (GWOT).

If the French and British militaries, which are both smaller and receive less funding than the Americans, are capable of reducing their citizens in the middle of Kabul, many are reasonably asking if Is it really possible that the U.S. does not have that capability of doing the same?

Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.

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